Lastminute.com group has named Ukraine-based meta TripMyDream as winner of the travel startup competition organised as part of its co-operation with Seedstars World.
TripMyDream will receive an investment from the group, formerly BravoFly Rumbo Group, of up to $500,000. The site works within a defined budget to provide options around themed breaks such as ski, beach or spa. It also integrates transport options to provide door-to-door comparisons.
Fabio Cannavale, group CEO of Lastminute.com group, also said that it will partner with the competition’s two runners-up - Tickey Mobile Solutions, a Bulgarian-based public transport app, which uses proximity sensors and mobile payments to make travelling around the urban environment easier - and Russia's PeopleFlyPlanet - an insurance provider which claims to pay out within hours of a flight being cancelled.
"We decided on the investment in TripMyDream and the partnership with Tickey and PeopleFly because we can see an immediate short-term benefit to the group business," he said. "Central and Eastern Europe, where these businesses are based, is a very interesting market for us and we like the fact that we get to work with good engineers."
Within Lastminute.com group, Jetcost is the main meta brand. The Jetcost and TripMyDream teams will explore ways of working together to give users a more comprehensive meta option.
Meanwhile, Tickey Mobile will feed into the group's Urbi urban mobility app, a startup the group invested in which operates in most major cities in Germany and Italy and compares urban transportation options including car share, bicycles and taxis, including Uber.
And Cannavale added that Lastminute.com group already has a wealth of data around insurance. His thinking is that PeopleFlyPlanet can help it analyse this data even more efficiently and help it to create even better insurance options for travellers and more revenue for Lastminute.com group.
The announcements were made at the Seedstars Summit held in Lausanne last week. Seedstars is a globally-focussed startup community and incubator with whom Lastminute.com has had a strategic partnership since last year. It is the first time that Seedstars has worked with a specific vertical in such a way.
"Seedstars is a great way for us to get access to the startups in emerging markets," he said. "As a business we are very much focussed on western Europe so the relationship with Seedstars is opening our eyes to what is happening in the emerging markets.
"We regularly send teams to its events around the world and even if there is no specific travel startup for us to look into we want to be part of the energy.
"We can get involved more easily than say an Expedia because we are a smaller, more flexible business without the constraints of a massive corporate and we like to think we still act like a startup in some respects."
The tie-up with Seedstars will also start feeding into the Lastminute.com group Foundation, its philanthropic arm which Cannavale is keen to position as part of the brand's desire to be a force for good as well as a successful travel business.
"Next year we will be partnering with Seedstars on an 'innovation for sustainability' project, where we will be investing small amounts into some of the sustainable startups which are part of the Seedstars community.
"Trillions of dollars are spent by governments and massive corporations on these types of projects but very little ends up in the hands of the small-scale entrepreneurs and start-ups who can make a real difference at a local level."
Related reading from Tnooz:Mixing startup and corporate cultures in travel (March 2016)
The ten travel startups in line for Lastminute.com group and Seedstars backing (Feb 2016)